Friday, September 30, 2005

Waiting for the Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

It’s late Thursday night, it’s been a long day, and I’m starting to get a headache.

I need sleep.

But I wait for my pie to be finished.

Wednesdays and Thursdays are hard days.

Wednesday I saw three clients. Today I had group supervision and saw one client.

People are in so much pain. Why does there have to be so much pain in the world?

Second-hand trauma. We used to talk a lot about that in graduate school.

Trying to just BE.

Getting better at it.

Needy people.

I’m needy too!

Rosh Hashanah approaches.


Cooking, baking and guests.

Pie is done.

Shabbat Shalom.

The (over) 16,000 question…

For those of you who have been to our Shabbat table or know of my reputation for asking thought provoking (sometimes more than others) questions, this will not come to a shock to you.

I have decided to ask a thinking question at every 1000 mark – plus or minus.

Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email with your answer. The purpose is to think about yourself.

Let see? What should my first question be?

OK, how about this one:


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Silent treatment over

Quick update:

NED ended her silence with a letter of hurt and apology. I answered with a letter of "Love no Matter what", and all is good.

DB, on the other hand, has been communicating, but as a royal grump. I hope he snaps out of it soon.

I'm home today, sifting through piles of papers. Bills, school papers, information notices, etc. I've got my Lionel Ritchie CD on and am plowing through...

Have a good one!

Monday, September 26, 2005

For the record!

So my children who read my blog understand clearly...


I might not like or agree with your behavior or actions,

but Abba and I will always love you!

Two down, two to go...

As of 11:20 PM, I have successfully "pissed off" (sorry Mom!) two of my children, who have decided to react by not talking to me.

NED has been mute since last night when I told her she had to walk home from her friend's house instead of me picking her up.

And DB came home 45 minutes after curfew tonight because he was in the middle of a basketball game and why don't I understand that he couldn't leave in the middle of the game?

MB had a crying fit tonight when I wouldn't help her exactly when SHE needed help with her English essay. But she got over it...

Ely actually had a tantrum tonight because I refused to help her get undressed and into pajamas. She was being lazy and I was being stubborn. Of course, Ari came to the rescue and I was forgiven.

I wonder how long the other two will hold on?

Are you still wondering about the 'more babies' thing?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Quick ELY diddy

My “baby” doesn’t seem to need me as much anymore.

Last Sunday she walked home by herself (about a two block walk) from her ballet class.

On Tuesday and Friday she walked home from gan by herself (about 3 blocks).

On Shabbat she and her friend walked home together (about 4 blocks).

I love the yishuv life, but my baby is feeling way too independent for me.

I wish babies could stay babies for a lot longer!

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Why not have more babies?”

My answer to you is one word: TEENAGERS!

Almost a week later…

Ari came home last Tuesday night. Thank G-d he arrived home safely.

Wednesday I worked all day. Ari and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary out to dinner. Happy Anniversary Honey!

Thursday I left the house at 7:15 in the morning to do a live supervision (where I see my client on the other side of a one-way mirror while my supervision group watches) and then had a staff meeting. I was mentally and emotionally drained!

Friday was spent cooking for Shabbat. Caught up with my friend, Mrs. Treppenwitz. OMG what a scary story!

Shabbat was restful. A quiet visit with Miriam and Talya.

And today, Sunday, I have spent the morning searching for a file of a workshop I gave in the states called “Can teachers play too?” I finally found it in the most obvious place I should have looked in the first place. While looking, though, I found all kinds of other great group therapy ideas/files.

Ya wanna know why I was looking for this particular file?

Call me crazy, but I want to present at the NEFESH Israel conference in January. I promise not to freak you all out with my panickings this time!

I just feel that it is important to get myself out there as much as possible. It is the only way to build my private practice. And really I love to present. It’s like being up on stage again (mmm? interesting insight, SB!)

Tomorrow is another day…

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bullets to catch up

I don’t have anything profound or meaningful to write about at length, but I wanted to touch base and let you all know I’m still here.

- Spent Shabbat at Brother Matt’s. I, in fact, have a lot to write about that, but I choose not to in a public forum. Baby Nissim is very yummy!
- Saturday night was the yishuv welcome to new families party. I understood more of the Hebrew than I did last year, but still felt out of place. When will I ever feel like I belong somewhere?
- I have received several phone calls about taking seminary girls as sleeping and eating guests for Rosh Hashana. The list is slowly growing.
- Cousin Diana and the triplets came over for dinner on Sunday. I made delicious lasagna and she brought the sweetest corn I have ever tasted in Israel. So wonderful to have family here!
- Met with the architect. The engineer had to make some small changes. I am still trying to keep everything in perspective.
- Went this morning to Jerusalem to learn some Torah and then visit JE.
- Had a meeting tonight with another local Creative Arts Therapist (different title, same stuff). She is opening up some office space and is looking to rent it out. This could potentially be very exciting…
- Came home at 11 PM and ate French fries – yuck! What else should I have eaten instead?!
- Tomorrow I get a very well deserved massage.
- Ari comes home tomorrow night. Reentry.
- DB seems to want to go back to last years’ school to visit?? That’s really weird!
- MB is stressing out over an art project she has to do on Picasso.
- NED had her first argument with a teacher. She knows it wasn’t a good idea and has agreed to move on…I hope!
- ELY is trying so hard to read English. She is constantly asking me what something says. She’ll write a whole bunch of letters and gibberish on a paper and then ask me what it says. She has slept with me every night since Ari has been gone. Tomorrow night she moves back into her own bed. Are we messing up our kid?!

I've been thinking alot about what I believe....

What do you believe?

Friday, September 16, 2005

I did it and it’s over!

I think I remember writing about this after the last workshop I gave in March, but it bears repeating again here.

I am the kind of person – and I have no idea if I’m the only one like this? – That after I study for and take a test, or work on writing and then turn in a paper or, in this case, prepare and then present a workshop, it’s over and I don’t want to think or talk about it. I don’t know if there is a deep psychological reason, it really doesn’t matter. I just know that I just want to walk away from it and not talk or deal with it for a while. I’m not always interested in feedback right away. I guess I just need time to let it settle. (I spent last night not thinking about while watching MY FAIR LADY with NED and Ely- what a classic! And where were MB and DB? That's the next post...)

So here I am the morning after, and for the sake of those who left me such nice support comments (which I really appreciated!) and those who called to see how it went (thanks Mom and Spaz!), I’ll process it a little here.

The workshop started and ended on time. I am very proud of myself for that. There was not as large a turn out as I had anticipated, but it was an intimate group to work with. There were about 30-35 women, most were interns from the clinic, people I see weekly. Only a couple were from outside the clinic.

I realized why my anxiety level was higher than it usually is. Usually when I do a workshop, the chance of seeing the participants again is very low. The seminar I gave yesterday was mandatory, at least for interns, which means that most of the participants are my colleagues that I see on a weekly basis. The expectation for me to give them enough information felt so much higher.

The short snippets of feedback I have received thus far have all been positive. People felt I gave a nice balance between information and experiential. People left feeling like they could use some of the examples I gave them. People left feeling like I had moved issues within themselves that helped understand their own processes better. And people left knowing that there is more than just talk therapy out there to help aid in the processes of our clients.

I left feeling good about it. There were times that I felt I was totally flying by the seat of my pants (actually skirt) and making up answers for questions on the spot. I felt confident enough in the theoretical piece to believe what I was saying, even though theory is not my strength. I would appreciate some criticism, though, to help me know what to work on for next time. Hopefully that will come.

The hardest part for me was knowing there were people there who were very resistant to the process and therefore left the workshop without saying anything to me. I admit, I know for sure that they were resistant, but I don’t know for sure why they left (could be they had an appointment). But there is something about a therapist not willing to look at his or her own stuff that makes me nervous about that person as a therapist. I was trained to believe that a good therapist knows what pushes his buttons. We have to know our own stuff in order to relate or be empathetic to our clients. For example, I might not understand the pain of infertility, but I understand the pain of other losses and can feel that for and with my clients. I know already that this issue is going to be a hotspot in this clinical training. It brings back a lot of memories, some not so fun memories, of my training in graduate school. I don’t want to relive that process again and I hope I have matured enough professional and personally to know how to handle it properly this time.

So that’s about it. If you are interested to know a little detail about what I did, I ran the workshop like a therapy group, but gave commentary as I went along. The process of creating the art or being in the moment of expression was interrupted quite often.

We played with objects from a play blanket (all of my children’s toys thrown onto a blanket in the middle of the floor.) Group members broke into dyads. They did movement, a conversation drawing, and two volunteer dyads did a movement to reflect their drawing. We did some intense question asking and writing (One person asks these three questions 5 – 10 times over and over again while the other writes their answers. Then switch. The questions are: Who are you? What are you afraid of? And what do you believe?) Then they created an art piece around “What are you most afraid of?”

There was a lot of discussion and processing in between and most people came over to me at the end to say they had a really fun time.

I’m glad it’s over! Now I can go bake challah for Shabbat!

Shabbat Shalom

And where were MB and DB?

Very good question!

In MB’s case, I have a better idea. With very suspicious giggles, MB went to meet her friend Illanit for a picnic at 8:15 PM. She made a salad, put a bottle of coke in a bag and left to meet her friend (who is DB’s age) at the park. In her words, “We were bored and decided to have a picnic.” I figured she couldn’t get into too much trouble; she has no school the next day, why not?

She came home with the same giggles and not surprisingly announced that other people joined them. Whatever?!

DB, on the other hand, is another story!

At 11:00 pm Wednesday night, as I was anxiously preparing for my workshop, DB came down the steps and said, “Oh Imma, by the way, my class is taking an all night tiyul tomorrow night.”

Me: OH, BY THE WAY?!?!

DB: Yeah, we get out of school at 7, and then have to meet at Har Herzl (the military cemetery in Jerusalem) at 11. We are going somewhere and we’ll be back around 8 in the morning.

Me: (becoming even more anxious) Um, DB? Is there any kind of permission slip I have to sign? Information to the parents about where you are going and who’s taking you? You’re going SOMWHERE? And I’m just supposed to let you go? What are you going to do until 11 PM?

DB: (In that exasperated teenage voice) Imma! This is Israel. I’m going with my class; the Rebbe is going with us. And we’ll probably go to the mall and see a movie until 11.

Me: And I’m supposed to be okay with this?

DB: Yeah Imma, this is Israel. It’s not like in America. I’ll be fine.

And it so it is.

I called my wonderful cousin D who has a son in the same class to ask if she knew anything about this. With both of us laughing hysterically, she assured me (after finding out about it from her son!) that they do this kind of thing once in awhile and they will be fine. They are a great group of boys and not to worry. D called me a couple hours later to tell me that DB had been to her house with her son (they live in Jerusalem), they had gotten something to eat and drink and were off to the movies.

“D, I’m supposed to be okay with the fact that I have no idea what movie my son is seeing nor where he’s going to be all night?”

That’s right!

It is now 8:00 am. I have not heard from DB all night and have no idea where he is. In America, I would be an irresponsible mother. Here, I’ll be a nagging mother if I call him. I have tried to teach him to call me to check in, but for some reason he doesn’t. I don’t think he is the kind of kid to hide, and therefore not call. I just don’t think he thinks about it.

So I’ll wait a little longer, and then the American mom in me will just call…

I’ll keep you posted as to where he was and what he did!

Give me strength!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

"Old" friends

Those friends that come back to visit are so important and meaningful.

Not just for my biological children who made deep connections to so many of our NCSY kids - as if they are big brothers and sisters.

For me and Ari too.

We have cared and loved so deeply for so many.

Some of them forget that.

And others come back to visit.

Thank you, Avi, for taking the time out of your short visit with your family to come and spend time with your "other family"!

It was kindly appreciated and we hope it gave you as much strength as it gave us!

The anxiety builds…

...And the nail biting and chocolate eating increases.

Believe in yourself.

What’s the worse that can happen?


Just do it!

I love to color – that is why I became an Expressive Arts Therapist.

Just do it!

(For those of you who are just tuning in and have no idea what I'm freaking out about: I am giving a 3 hour professional development seminar on Understanding the Expressive Arts Therapies to about 30 + mental health professionals on Thursday.)

I'm a little nervous!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I found Jeff!!

With your suggestions and my perserverance, I found him. didn't help me very much because there were too many of the same names and I wasn't YET about to start calling strangers. But it did remind me of Jeff's sister's name, so I Googled her name and tracked her down at work. She gave me Jeff's number, and besides my VOIP line cutting out, I finally spoke to him!

He turned 23 last week. He is working for a union laying floors and carpets and has a rock band that is growing in reputation in Massachusetts. I'm really proud of him! It used to be that after I stopped seeing him as a client (because I stopped working at the school and he dropped out) I was afraid every year to call. I was always afraid his mother would tell me Jeff was in prison or worse.

But the goodness and decency I always saw in him has kept him above water and even made him a success for himself.

I believe in the resiliency theory. When we know someone believes in us somewhere in the world, we are resilient to all the bad that might come our way.

Jeff has been resilient. I am not saying that it is because of me that he has made it. But I know that because of him, I have alot more trust in myself as a clinician and friend.

I am deeply thankful to him.

I feel so much better now...

Monday, September 12, 2005


This is not a flood brought on by Mother Nature.

Or a hurricane that could not be stopped.

This was a decision brought on by human beings. Forced by politics.

Homes and holy synagogues desecrated --

It makes me want to throw up!

I am just sick

And angry!

And disillusioned...

And so so sad.

Still up! And looking for Jeff

I know I need to get to sleep!
I have just placed my online order for books, CDs, and DVDs from for Ari to bring back with him next week. I don't know, though, that I want to admit to the world what I ordered :)

I am also trying to use the web to find an old friend/client of mine that until this year I spoke to every year on his birthday (this week he would have been 22). I have called the numbers I have, and none of them are working. I have tried information for every family member I can think of and they have no listings.

I starting seeing Jeff when he was 14 at the Alternative High School in Methuen, Massachusetts. We have kept in touch until now. I would very much like to find him, but don't know what else to try.

Any ideas?

Anxiety and procrastination

In 4 days I will be presenting a professional development seminar on understanding the expressive arts therapies to mental health professionals at the family clinic in Jerusalem. It will be a 3-hour experiential seminar, and I have not figured out yet what I am going to do to fill that time.

My anxiety has completely paralyzed me.

I called my old expressive arts friend and collegue, Christina, to get me motivated. I miss Christina! I miss my expressive arts friends. No one understands me here. I need people who think like I do. Therapists who can think outside the box.

Anyhow, my anxiety over preparing for this workshop has helped me get everything else done but the actual format of the workshop. I still have some time.

In other news…
We finished our first week of school.

NED is more and more like me everyday. I see my personality in her, times 100! Deeply sensitive. Irritable. Moody. Insecure. Get in her way, she’ll swipe at you…but loves hugs and attention.
MB has my intensity of getting things done. When she puts her mind to it, she is highly motivated.
DB is so deep and sensitive in his relating to people.
And Ely just wants to play with babies…

Ari is away. NED really misses him. I like having the car to myself.

I will see three clients at the clinic this week – one, partially in Hebrew.

I will see a private client. She doesn’t want to talk. She wants to use art and movement. Where shall I begin?

I spent 2 hours today with a kitchen and bathroom design guy. Great ideas and alleviates my anxiety about the house.

Oh, and I organized a tiyul (trip) for new olim on the yishuv to the dairy section of the super market. I’ve been here 2 years and still can’t tell which is cottage cheese and which is sour cream?? Should be fun.

How’s that for a quick all over update?

It's Sept. 11th. I remember...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

There we go...15,000

Tomorrow is day four of our new school year.
So far, so good.
NED loves her new teacher.
MB can't decide whether to take physics or biology.
DB is learning some of the same material he learned last year - now he can feel more confident about it.
Everyday Ely wants to know, "what am I doing today after gan?" I have her scheduled...

And me?
Well, I just wait.
I wait for the first tear.
The first frustration.
The first lost book.
The first mean girl or screaming teacher.

I just wait...

And try to do laundry, buy food for the house, make meals, give hugs...

and wait.

Monday, September 05, 2005

all new beginnings are difficult

new schools and new jobs this week.
there will be the honeymoon...
and then,
we will try to hold it all together!
Welcome to the new moon -- Chodesh Tov!

P.S. Happy 20th Bday to Nephew #2!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t…

Write and post, that is.

Ely and MB started school today DB and NED start on Sunday.

My Ely went right in, her first day of kindergarten.

MB was excited and positive.

Sunday will be a different experience.

DB starts yet another new school. That is three schools in three years. But he is a trooper. He will be great!

NED goes back to her school from last year. She is NOT happy! How do I help her? I’m feeling very incapable of giving her the right words and support she needs.

NED is me, only times 100.

I had my orientation at the clinic. I am a therapist again. For real. Trying to help heal the pained souls in Israel.

Ari is home. Reentry.

DB is going to Ashkelon to a hotel with some friends to help the children from Gush Katif have an enjoyable Shabbat.

The new moon (Rosh Chodesh Elul) is Saturday night. What must I work on?

Shabbat Shalom